By Gus Herrera
Spring is in the air and that means baseball season is right around the corner. Despite the fact that today’s NBA and NFL may, arguably, be challenging baseball for the title of America’s favorite pastime, no other sport evokes the sense of nostalgia that baseball does. No matter how popular basketball and football might become, it is the rich history and countless traditions that will forever maintain a spot for baseball in the hearts of many Americans. One of the oldest and most prominent of these traditions is collecting and trading baseball cards.
For 35 years, Hall of Fame (HOF) Baseball Cards in Arcadia has been a sanctuary for hobbyists, collectors, and local sports fans in general. Like most success stories, it all started with a dream. Owner Bob Newton, a huge baseball fan and card collector, began the business in 1981 out of his garage, “he would do mail-orders, he would deal to locals. People would just come down the driveway on weekends, Saturdays or Sundays, and do business,” says his son Erik Newton, who makes up the second half of the father-son duo that operates the business today. Eventually, the passion project grew out of the driveway and in 1991 HOF Baseball Cards opened its Arcadia storefront where it still stands today.
The business of baseball cards has seen its share of fluctuation over the years. In the 80s and early 90s business was booming, but shortly thereafter, in the late 90s and early 2000s, the industry took a hit, “probably 90 percent of the businesses that opened for this hobby closed down during that 10-year time period,” revealed Newton.
HOF Baseball Cards was able to overcome these particular challenges thanks to its outstanding reputation within the community. What separates the store from its competition is the tight-knit family feel and its passionate, knowledgeable customer service. The Newtons are both big-time sports fans and their commitment to running an honest business has earned them the community’s loyalty and support.
Flash forward to today and the hobby is beginning to see a revival, “I personally have seen an influx of business in the last three to five years. I’ve seen a lot of people coming back that got out of it in the 90s, they want to check it out again … a lot of guys in their late 30s bring in their kids saying, ‘hey, this is what I used to do,’ trying to get them into it,” says Newton. Additionally, card companies have recently begun bolstering their products with autographs and memorabilia, “The piece of the game has really gotten people into it, because now they’re not just collecting a piece of cardboard with a player’s face on it, they’re actually collecting something that that player used in a game, whether it be a piece of a bat or jersey, or a card that they signed,” says Newton. Not only do these new features bring fans and collectors closer to the game, they also provide for more instant value.
Do not let the name fool you, HOF Baseball Cards sells much more than just baseball cards. Inside you can also find basketball, football, hockey, and gaming cards (i.e. Magic the Gathering, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Pokemon). In addition, the store also has a great collection of sports memorabilia and all the accessories a collector could need (plastic sleeves, storage boxes, ball holders, cases, etc.). So whether you are a fan, investor, or just looking for that one-of-a-kind gift, there is sure to be something for you.
HOF Baseball Cards is located at 319 E. Foothill Blvd. For more information, call (626) 358-2448 or visit www.HallofFameBaseballCards.com. Occasionally the store hosts athlete signings (predominantly with Dodger legends) and events with special deals, prizes, and raffles; so make sure to check them out on Facebook and Instagram for up-to-date news.